French writer Joseph Méry (1797–1865) wrote a number of opera librettos and is best known for his libretto to Verdi’s Don Carlos, co-written with Camille du Locle.
Méry was born Aygalades and studied law in Aix-en-Provence. He went on to become a political journalist, with his work leading to his imprisonment for a short period. After visiting Turkey he moved to Paris, where he wrote for the satirical journal Le Nain jaune while working prolifically as a writer of poems, plays, novels and short stories.
Méry’s other librettos include Deffès’s La Fantôme du Rhin and Valse et menuet (with Jules Adenis), Duprez’s Jeanne d’Arc (with Edouard Duprez), Reyer’s Erostate (with Giovanni Pacini) and Maître Wolfram (with Théophile Gautier), David’s Herculanum (with Terence Hadot) and Massé’s Le Prix de famille.
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The composer of La traviata, Macbeth and Otello consolidated and innovated the opera of his time.